Blood on Snow
By Jo Nesbo
Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith
In US: Knopf, ISBN 978-0-385-35419-6, Hardcover, 224 pp., $23.95/27.95 CA$
(In UK: Harvill Secker, 978-1-846-55860-3, Hardcover, 208 pp., 12.99 BPS)
Reviewed by Theodore Feit
This novel is offered as a standalone by the author of the popular Harry Hole series, creating a new, very different type of protagonist, a contract killer with a convoluted personality full of paradoxes. His name is Olav Johansen and he is a solitary person who acts as a fixer, getting rid of persons his pimp boss wishes to remove from the living world.
After establishing a pretty good picture of Olav as a person, the beginning of a extraordinary plot evolves. His boss, who controls both prostitution and heroin rackets in Oslo, tells Olav to kill his wife, creating a dilemma for the fixer. In researching the wife‘s activities preparatory to killing her, he instead falls in love with his intended victim. And this leads to further ramifications later on, not to be revealed in this review.
Although the publisher suggests the novel is a standalone, there is information that there is a sequel, “Midnight Sun, Blood on Snow Part Two,” scheduled to be published in the UK come November, and that a third novel is anticipated also featuring Olav. The novels are supposedly being published under Jo Nesbo’s alter ego name, Tom Johansen (note the use of the surname for Olav as well). But what’s in a name when the true writer is Jo Nesbo, who gives us such wonderful plots, written with intensity, and characters who provide us with charm, amusement and insights.